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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

PUC Vice Chairman Nelson gains national appointment

PIERRE, S.D. – Chris Nelson, vice chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, has been appointed by the Federal Communications Commission to the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service. Nelson was nominated for the appointment by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Nelson is one of four state utility regulators on the joint board, which also includes delegates from the FCC and a consumer advocate representative. The board is charged with making recommendations to the FCC related to federal universal service policies. Programs under the banner of universal service are the Connect America Fund for rural areas, Lifeline for low-income customers, E-rate for schools and libraries, and Rural Health Care.

Since joining the South Dakota PUC in 2011, Nelson has been increasingly involved with telecommunications issues, sharing his voice at a national level as a member of the NARUC Task Force on Federalism and Telecommunications and, most recently, as the new chairman of the NARUC Committee on Telecommunications.

"I’m looking forward to working with my fellow board members to develop positive recommendations to the FCC that will help to propel the Universal Service program in an appropriate direction," Nelson stated. "There needs to be solid progress that fully considers the needs and burdens of both consumers and telecommunications providers. I am grateful to be part of the board to meet that challenge."

Nelson was appointed to the PUC by Gov. Dennis Daugaard to fill a vacancy in January 2011 and won election to the commission in November 2012. Previously, he served as the South Dakota Secretary of State for two terms.


MEDIA NOTE: Contact Sigrid Wald, or (605) 773-3201, to request a photo of Commissioner Nelson to publish with this release.